UPDATE: An FAQ and an update from the Health Connector (Tuesday 12/17, 2 pm):
In accordance with Acting Gov. Galvin’s request to release all non-emergency employees today due to inclement weather, the Health Connector call center is closing at 2 p.m. today (Tuesday 12/17). The lines will re-open tomorrow at 7 a.m.
Question. What happens to an individual who is unable to get their application through online for January 1st coverage?
Answer. Applying online is the fastest way to get coverage for January 1. If you encounter any technical difficulties creating an account, call 1-877-MA ENROLL (877-623-6765) to complete your application. The Health Connector Customer Service Center has more than doubled its staff since October and is now offering applicants the opportunity to schedule an appointment with a Customer Service Representative who will call the applicant back within the applicant’s choice of four blocks of time during a day that the applicant chooses.
Question. Can you clarify to whom the temporary coverage for January 1st applies?
Answer. Our highest priority is to ensure that all of our populations that seek insurance coverage will have access to coverage without gaps or delay. If we are not able to process certain applications we will provide applicants seeking financial assistance with temporary access to coverage for January 1, 2014 until we are able to process them into their final new coverage. Those who have applied for non-subsidized coverage online or by paper MUST select a plan and make a payment by December 23 to enroll in coverage for January 1st.
Customer Service Center Update:
The Health Connector’s Customer Service Center (1-877-MA ENROLL (1-877-623-6765) will offer extended hours this weekend. They will be open on Sunday, December 22, from 9:00am-3:00pm to offer consumers assistance in completing applications or making plan selections.
As we mentioned in our blog last Friday, the Health Connector and MassHealth are doing the right thing by extending Commonwealth Care, Medical Security, and Insurance Partnership coverage until March 31st, 2014. Current members of these health insurance programs will need to reapply for help paying for health insurance between now and March 24th, 2014 in order to have health insurance for the rest of 2014. See details below about how to reapply and reenroll for coverage beyond March 2014.
What about the people that are losing health insurance coverage on December 31st or are currently uninsured?
The Health Connector and MassHealth have made a commitment to ensuring that folks are covered on January 1st, 2014. The details of this coverage are still being worked out, but we wanted to let our readers know so that the public is as informed as possible and hopefully to ease some anxiety.
How do folks ensure that they have health insurance coverage on January 1st, 2014?
There are four ways to get health insurance for January 1st:
- Apply online at mahealthconnector.org
- Apply over-the-phone by calling 877-MA-ENROLL (877-623-6765)
- Apply via paper application here for help paying for health insurance or here for health insurance with no subsidy
- Apply in-person with a navigator or certified application counselor. See the list of them here. [http://bettermahealthconnector.org/get-help/]
What if I already applied and have not received a notice about my new coverage?
The Health Connector and MassHealth are working furiously to process all of the applications they have received for health insurance coverage for January 1st, 2014. If you filled out a paper application for help paying for health insurance, you will receive a notice within the next couple of weeks regarding your new health insurance coverage that starts January 1st. If you filled out a paper application for private health insurance without help paying for health insurance, you will receive a notice very soon with your plan choices and/or bill for your premium*.
***Important note: In order to have health insurance coverage for January 1st, 2014, you need to have sent in your completed application and premium payment (if you have to pay a premium) by December 23rd, 2013.***
UPDATE: Here’s our summary of what people need to do to keep their coverage:
Affordable Care Act Coverage Transition Guide
For People Wanting to Apply for Immediate Coverage Before December 31st, 2013
- Fill out a Virtual Gateway or the new application for help paying for health insurance. Make sure to check that you want immediate coverage!
For Current Commonwealth Care members (Over 138% FPL [Federal Poverty Level])
- Current coverage extended through March 31st, 2014. Must still reapply for coverage and pay premium at least five business days before the end of March (March 24, 2014) in order to have coverage April 1, 2014.
For Current Commonwealth Care members (Under 138% FPL)
- Automatically transitioned to MassHealth CarePlus for January 1st, 2014. Members need to make a health plan selection by contact MassHealth CST at 800-841-2900 or will be auto-assigned to a health plan.
For Current MassHealth members
- You do not need to do anything unless a member of your household needs to reapply and reenroll! You will continue to get MassHealth benefits starting January 1st, 2014.
For Current Medical Security Plan (MSP) members
- Direct coverage (Network Health Extend) – Coverage extended through March 31st, 2014. Must reapply for coverage and pay premium at least five business days before the end of March (March 24, 2014).
- Premium assistance (Private health insurance) – Must affirmatively respond to notice from DUA/Health Connector to receive coverage through March 31st, 2014. Must reapply for coverage and pay premium at least five business days before the end of March (March 24, 2014.)
For Current Insurance Partnership members
- Premium assistance (Employer’s health insurance) – Premium assistance extended through January 31st, 2014. Majority will transition to a MassHealth plan or MassHealth premium assistance. Those members that do not transition to MassHealth must reapply for coverage and pay premium at least five business days before the end of January (January 24, 2014.)
For People Currently in Young Adult Plans (YAPs)
- Coverage ends December 31st. Must reapply for coverage and pay premium at least five business days before the end of December (Monday, December 23rd).
For People Currently in Commonwealth Choice
- Coverage end date depends on the date you purchased a health plan. Call the Health Connector to find out your coverage end date. All Commonwealth Choice members must reapply for coverage on or before March 24th, 2014.
For People Over Age 65 in Medicare
- There is no need to do anything! Medicare beneficiaries should not shop for health insurance on the Health Connector. You should participate in Medicare Open Enrollment if you want to change your Medicare supplement and/or Medicare Part D plan.